Monday, November 1, 2010

Is This Justice?

Paras arrested and perhaps on their way to the States for trial for drug trafficking. But doesn't anybody remember their murders back home?
Colombia has extradited more of its citizens to face trial in the United States for drug trafficking than has just about any other country. Those extraditees have included leaders of the FARC guerrillas and paramilitary groups, as well as straight-out narcotraffickers.

Few of those people have returned to walk Colombian soil again. An exception is Julio César Parga Rivas, a military official arrested in 2008 for allegedly working with paramilitary organizations, who, among other things, exported cocaine.

But U.S. prosecutors didn't succeed in convicting Rivas for drug trafficking, which could have meant a 30-year term in a U.S. prison. That makes sense for those who believe that buying and selling certain hallucinogenic substances should be a crime.

Except for this detail....

Rivas is also wanted in Colombia for some 70 murders, including the recruitment of young men who were then murdered and presented as guerrillas killed in battle. That was part of the notorious 'False positives' scandal, in which more than a thousand people were murdered by the military and then reported as guerrillas killed in battle.

The failure in logic and justice here is glaring: a man who allegedly has has the blood of dozens on his hands is to be tried first for trafficking substances that people want to buy? How about all of those guys doing time for drug trafficking in U.S. prisons, whose murders remain unpunished?

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogota Bike Tours

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